With a constant deluge of questions about the direction in which our country is headed there are few satisfying answers from the halls of power. Actually, one of the answers has to do with power itself, too much of it in the hands of too few and an enormous chasm between government and the people it is meant to serve.
What for example was an ANWR drilling provision doing in the recent budget bill prettied up though it was with unverifiable projections of leasing fees to be paid by energy companies for drilling rights? Oh yes, the premise behind this provision was that these fees would help to reduce the deficit. Uh huh.
What is Congress doing in the middle of the Terri Schiavo matter except that Republican crocodile tears charm their political base? No such compassion seems to prevail when it comes to supporting programs for the disadvantaged or in Texas where hospitals may decide the fate of patients under the “futile-care” law. And how does Tom DaLay, a person so ethically fragile, who said ‘God gave Republicans the Terri Schiavo issue’, continue to hold a leadership position and be called “a friend” by the president?
How does a bankruptcy bill that comes down hard on those who have suffered financial reverses due to serious illness or job loss serve the best interests of average Americans? Moreover, why are companies like Enron allowed to reorganize under corporate bankruptcy rules while former employees, who lost their pensions and saw their investments disappear, have almost no recourse with respect to reorganizing their lives or financing their retirement?
Does anyone remember the Willie Horton commercials used by the Senior Bush campaign against Michael Dukakis? Playing to racial fears, the short film showed a black man walking through a revolving door to suggest that the justice system under Governor Dukakis was soft on crime. Why weren‘t more Americans embarrassed by this political pandering to racists? And where does Jeb Bush fit in the crime control picture after numerous child care abuses in Florida and the recent kidnapping and death of a young girl there by a previously convicted sex offender working at a local school? Democrats probably won’t hit this theme, but where was the outrage then and where is it now?
And how often does anyone question another kind of revolving door – – the one between government, lobbying firms and industry? One might seriously ponder whether this kind of influence peddling is more or less injurious to the construct of a just society than Willie Horton who committed a crime on a weekend pass.
Of course Republicans are still tweaking the race thing. Bush used it against John McCain in their primary race in 2000. And he keeps referring to his Social Security overhaul as a plus for African Americans because supposedly they die at earlier ages and would be better able to hang onto and pass along their old-age benefits. And there isn’t even a smidgen of discomfort or embarrassment on the part of Republicans for their shameless use of this still-divisive issue.
But perhaps government is no longer about promoting a just society having become more concerned with economic considerations that involve protecting multi-national corporations, at great cost to the average person, from taxes, environmental regulations and the need to pay a living wage. That probably isn’t even a question but rather an answer.

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